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ABC Salisbury: Comptroller calls for extra money to go to small businesses

September 10, 2020

Hannah Cechini

MARYLAND – Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced some good news. The state finished out the 2020 fiscal year with a fund balance of more than $585 million. But the question now is what to do with all of that money. “It is critical that the state of Maryland immediately allocate that toward small business,” said Comptroller Franchot.

The Comptroller says that if something isn’t done soon, many small businesses could go under. “Right now there’s thousands of small businesses – many of them on the shore – that are hanging by a thread and could permanently close over the next month,” said Comptroller Franchot.

Owner of World of Toys in Berlin Olga Kozhevnikova says that financial aid from the government during COVID-19 has been extremely helpful in keeping the lights on and business going. “Before we reopened our bank account was very, very low. Abnormal for us,” said Kozhevnikova.

Kozhevnikova says that PPP loans and grants from Worcester County helped pay for some expenses. But others had to come out of pocket as they were paying for gas when delivering toys and a good chunk of the price to ship products to their customers. “We purchased some disposable masks for customers if they were coming to the store without masks. We were providing them with the masks and sanitizers. We bought all of that,” said Kozhevnikova.

Kozhevnikova says that for now, her business is doing okay. But she’s worried about the fate of other local businesses. “I got enough help for my business. There’s probably a lot of restaurants that are suffering right now,” said Kozhevnikova.

Comptroller Franchot says that the next 24 months could be extremely difficult for the economy. He says that using this extra money should be done now or never. “Their economic situation is not attributable to themselves at all. It’s all because the federal government failed the country as far as controlling the virus,” said Comptroller Franchot.

Comptroller Franchot says that because this money isn’t allocated, it wouldn’t mean having to dip into the state’s rainy day fund, which is about $1.2 billion. “You don’t have to go into the rainy day fund. It’s separate. It’s a one time allocation of money,” said Comptroller Franchot.

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